East Algarve Football Club prides itself on helping people to get fit, have fun and make new friends, by playing walking football and ‘normal’ running football. There is also a fourth lesser-known aspect to our activities, which is fundraising for local good causes.
When health regulations allow, we play football four days a week with each player paying to play and with a third of all takings being set aside for local good causes. As we often get 30 or more people at each session, these funds can soon add up. Organiser Jonathan Syed said: “The latest lockdown has been tough for so many people, good causes, and local businesses, so we’ve been keen to help all we can.”
In the last few months alone, we have purchased food to support Len and Sandie Fry of Cabanas, who have been cooking hearty meals from their own home for up to 35 to 40 local people in need.
Two of our star players, Charlie Cousins and Roy Clark, have collected donations of animal food for dog and cat shelters in Castro Marim while first team players, Andy Smith and Karl Chapman have been busy helping refurbish the Leões Club in Tavira. Other members such as myself have been volunteering at local dog shelters, and doing so much more.
We’ve made food donations to various charities across the Algarve, a recent one being when Andy Wilkings took a delivery to the President of the Freguesia de Altura, Fernanda Sousa. Funds were donated by both the football club and individual members, including Andy himself.
We have recently paid the monthly medicine bill for a local lad suffering a severe illness and whose family have been struggling with day-to-day living.
As a club, we will not usually make monetary donations, but we will purchase goods, items of equipment, and foodstuffs and, of course, wherever possible, freely give our time to help local causes. We have in the past paid for the printing costs for a book published to raise money for the Bombeiros.
We hope to start playing again on May 3 and you can find more details on our website at https://walkingfootballalgarve.com. Everyone is welcome, regardless of ability and fitness, and we have members – men and women – from all over the world: Portugal, Britain, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, and so many more.
So, the next time you see a group of slightly overweight middle-aged footballers in Tavira or Olhão, bear in mind it might well be us, and that we’re not solely having fun, getting fit, and making new friends, but raising funds so we can help others less fortunate than ourselves who share our love for this beautiful part of the world.
By VAUGHAN WILLMORE